Mental Health Illness

Mental health illness refers to a group of disorders that affects how person feels, thinks and behaves, in the same way as gastrointestinal disorders refers to a group of illnesses that affect the digestive system of human body. A mental health condition may be short term or lifelong and has a range of degrees of severity. Examples, include mood, anxiety, depression and personality disorders

Psychosocial Disability

Psychosocial disability is a term that describes a disability that is caused by a mental health illness. It is a term that describes experience of people with impairments that are caused by mental health condition(s). These impairments include reduced ability to think clearly and manage social and emotional aspects of the life of the individual with the disability.

Whilst, not all mental health illnesses can lead to a psychosocial disability, examples of those that could lead to a psychosocial disability include Schizoid disorders such as schizophrenia, anxiety disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorder and Mood disorders such as major and dysthymic depression.

As psychosocial disability refers to the social consequences of the disability; its effects diminish a person’s ability to participate fully in various of aspects of life, such as education, employment, social and cultural activities. It can therefore be seen that without the right support, a psychosocial disability can inhibit an individual to reach his/her potentials in life.

The Focus of NDIS

Psychosocial disability is a term that is used by NDIS to explain a disability that arises from mental health conditions. Not everyone with a mental health condition has a psychosocial disability. For those who have a psychosocial disability, it could be long standing, and the impact on their life severe.

The focus of NDIS is centred on the impact of mental health condition(s) on the life of an individual, rather the actual mental health condition itself.

The main two criteria that must be demonstrated in an application to access NDIS services are as follows:

·The impact of mental health condition(s) on the life of an individual is permanent

·The ability of the individual to do everyday activities is diminished because of the impact of his/her mental health condition(s)

As a result, NDIS has recognised the disabilities that can arise from mental health condition and such individuals could be eligible for NDIS support

Key Point:

NDIS support is centred around the level of impairment, i.e. the impact of the mental health and NOT the diagnosis. Remember: The diagnosis may change with time. But the impact on the individual is constant.

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